11 LGBTQ-owned businesses that are changing the world

Queer entrepreneurship is more than a calling. It’s been an essential survival tactic for the LGBTQ community.

One in four LGBTQ people report experiencing employment discrimination in the last five years, while transgender people have twice the unemployment rate of non-trans people. In 28 states, queer people can be legally fired for their sexuality. In 30 states, transgender individuals can be legally fired for their gender identity.

Traditional working environments have a long way to go to welcome LGBTQ people — and that’s why entrepreneurship in the community matters.


8 meaningful ways you can make an impact this LGBTQ Pride Month

LGBTQ entrepreneurs create businesses with queer sensibility and inclusive values. Many also give back to the community as their businesses reach stability, creating welcoming working environments for other queer people and giving back to the community through donations.

Supporting LGBTQ-owned businesses is a vital way you can support the queer community this Pride Month and beyond. Not only will your dollars go toward a queer entrepreneur, but your business allows you to play an active role in the financial freedom of a low-income community.

Though not an exhaustive list by any means, here are 11 LGBTQ-owned businesses invested in social justice, diversity, and making an impact.

1. Equal Period

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Credit: Equal Period

Equal Period creates shirts, hats, and accessories celebrating LGBTQ identity and community. The clothing company doesn’t gender its products, welcoming nonbinary and genderqueer people as customers.

With every item sold, $10 is donated to established nonprofits serving the LGBTQ community, like The Ali Forney Center and the GLBT National Help Center. Equal Period also has an option to donate a shirt to homeless LGBTQ youth for $15.

2. dfrntpigeon

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Credit: dfrntpigeon

Clothing company dfrntpigeon gives LGBTQ, homeless, and foster youth in Portland, Oregon, the chance to design t-shirts that reflect their lives and experiences. The brand’s first line of shirts is called the Identity Collection, featuring designs by six young people who created pieces representing their identities and perspectives.

All money from shirt sales goes straight back into the dfrntpigeon program, paying young people for their design work and for running the show behind the scenes. The proceeds also go toward funding local creative programs to help at-risk children and young adults in Portland express themselves through art.

3. Kirrin Finch

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Credit: Kirrin Finch

Dedicated to using sustainable fabric and practices, Kirrin Finch sells menswear-inspired shirts designed to fit women, transgender men, and nonbinary people. Founded by couple Laura Moffat and Kelly Sanders Moffat, Kirrin Finch was founded to “meet the demand for gender-defying fashion.”

The collection of button-up shirts uses all-natural fabrics and low impact dyes to help curb pollution. Though the shirts are pricey, you’ll come away looking dapper — and doing some good for the earth.

4. Pal Socks

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Credit: Pals Socks

Pals Socks, which launched in 2007, is a brand selling mismatched socks of cutesy animal characters. The brand was created as a way to promote the importance of diversity, and to encourage kids to be friends with peers who may be a little different from them.

Throughout the company’s history, Pals Socks has donated portions of proceeds to nonprofits also invested in promoting harmony and empathy. Run by ex-girlfriends Hannah Lavon and Ashley Connors, the company proves once and for all that exes can be pals.

5. Wildfang

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Credit: WildFang

Queer-owned clothing company Wildfang refuses to be called a brand. Instead, the creators prefer to be called a “band of thieves,” raiding men’s closets and liberating menswear.

From blazers to button-ups to t-shirts, Wildfang sells a wide range of apparel designed with the queer community in mind. For many items, Wildfang contributes a portion of the sales to well-known nonprofits, like the ACLU and Planned Parenthood.

6. Artifex Detroit

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Credit: Artifex Detroit

Artifex Detroit creates bags, cuffs, and belts from the seat belts and upholstery of junkyard cars in the Motor City. The brand seeks to keep durable materials out of landfills in Detroit, repurposing them into fashion “artifacts.”

“You get to look cool and you’re contributing to the infamously terrible Michigan economy,” queer creator Wendi Magee writes on Artifex Detroit’s website. “Everybody wins.”

7. BeeLux Goods

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Credit: BeeLux Goods

Queer-owned beauty company BeeLux Goods makes skin and body products from all-natural ingredients. As the name suggests, the products feature honey from local Georgia bees as a main ingredient.

Not only does the company hope to help consumers “embrace natural self-care,” but the company also supports the well-being of local, vulnerable bee populations through its products.

8. Babeland

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A worker at Babeland prices products.
Credit: TED S. Warren/AP/REX/Shutterstock

Queer-owned sex shop Babeland is incredibly well-known in the LGBTQ community, and for good reason. The company has a special focus on accommodating the needs of women, LGBTQ people, and people of color, making sexuality more inclusive and accessible to all. Babeland also carries items like packers, prosthetic breasts, and stand-to-pee devices commonly used by the trans community.

In addition to holding safer sex workshops and educational classes, Babeland donates the proceeds of some of its items to sex-positive nonprofits through its Come for a Cause program. The company has donated $200,000 to more than 300 organizations in its 20-year history.

9. Brujas

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Credit: Brujas

Brujas is an urban creative organization of femme-identified people that uses skateboarding, art, and political organizing to support youth activism. The coalition, which was founded by several queer people of color, uses skating to build community and challenge the notion of property ownership and gentrification.

To support its racial justice efforts, which includes LGBTQ activism efforts, Brujas sells skate clothes and accessories. The funds also support inclusive skate events, parties, and anti-gentrification meetings.

10. Otherwild

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Credit: Otherwild

Otherwild, which was founded in 2012, is a queer-owned store supporting LGBTQ creatives, feminist artists, and creatives of color. The store — which has physical stores in New York City and Los Angeles, along with an online shop — celebrates identity, sex positivity, self-care, and activism.

A hefty portion of proceeds of all products created by Otherwild, instead of independent artists, is given to nonprofits like the ACLU, Planned Parenthood, and The National Center of Transgender Equality. For most items, 25 percent of proceeds is given to organizations on the front lines of social justice advocacy.

11. Bluestocking Boutique

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Credit: Bluestockings Boutique

Bluestockings Boutique is an “underthings” boutique created by queer-identified founder Jeanna Kadlec. Kadlec was inspired after noticing an absence of lingerie boutiques serving the queer community.

The brand includes sizing for transgender and nonbinary shoppers, and also ethically manufactures all goods. Every item is made with sustainable fabrics, and shipped in recycled and reused material. The organization also donates to organizations supporting women, LGBTQ people, and low-income populations.

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